Panto fever has hit Port Ellen as we have been preparing for our whole school pantomime which takes place every two years. We have also been organising the Christmas Fair, our main fundraiser, and P1/2/3 are preparing for their Nativity. Meanwhile, our Rolls-Royce journey continues….
Statoil Young Imagineers Finalist
As a result of our engineering project, we had a finalist in the national Young Imagineers competition run by Statoil. Sarah, from P6/7, invented a device that would save sheep stuck on their backs by making a scary sound and getting them to turn over. Her device was made into a prototype and she had to present it at the final in London at the Science Museum. Everyone is very proud of her achievement. Sarah says she is much more confident now about talking about engineering after presenting in front of a large audience, and she is inspired to take up engineering when she grows up.
Switch Off Fortnight
Continuing their learning about energy in Term1, Kate Brown’s class (P4/5) decided to try and encourage everyone to use less energy in school and at home. The children were quite shocked at how much electricity an electric shower uses and from looking at energy use they decided to make others understand this and think about saving energy, electricity in particular. So they joined the National “Switch Off Fortnight” and made information posters for the local community and home. This campaign was so successful that this week they are keen to spend part of the Christmas Disco without lights and use alternative sources instead…..glow sticks are at the ready!
This month Primary 6/7 have been working hard on researching renewable and non renewable sources of energy with Jo Clark. They wanted to know what energy sources are used in Scotland and the implications for the environment. Using One note they researched online and then used the notes to create posters, blogs and Sways. They debated in class the various types of energy source and chose the ones they thought were best, and wrote a discursive essay on renewable energy. In maths they looked at data produced by the Scottish Government on Energy use in Scotland and then analysed, interpreted and drew conclusions from it as part of a holistic assessment. Finally, they came up with pledges of what they could do themselves to reduce energy consumption.
Meanwhile, in P4/5 with Kate Brown, the children have been learning about wind power as there is a tall wind turbine outside the village. The children know that wind is sustainable and they made their own pinwheels to record the wind direction/wind strength associated with the speed of the wheel which led to discussions about what happens to wind turbines when there is no wind, and how strong winds here in Islay can be used to generate electricity. They then worked in groups to complete the Wind Turbine Challenge from the STEM website. The aim was to create a fair test to try to make a turbine that could raise a cup from the floor using a hairdryer. Charlet said, “Our group all had roles and Rhuraidh was the engineer. He designed a turbine but the rest of us felt there was not enough detail to make the model and so Caitidh, our artist, added more. Then we used card for the blades and a pencil for the shaft. At first we taped the shaft to the desk but it wouldn’t go round so we fixed that problem by putting card over the pencil loosely so it could turn. Sadly, our Turbine only lifted the cup a little bit but did manage when we gave it a bit of a hand. Next time we would change the size and shape of the blades and also use stronger wind power”
Next term George Dean will be helping us to organise visits to the Islay wind turbine and other sites that generate or use renewable energy on Islay.
Learning how Energy impacts on the Environment
In P1/2/3 Maggie Harrison has been using a story called Who will Save Us? to introduce the concept of global warming. All the children have been really engaged with learning all about the Antarctic and the penguins who live there and then how global warming might cause the ice to melt and affect not only penguins but other animals and people in different parts of the world too. Iona made this fantastic poster and she said that she ‘didn’t like the bad gas getting stuck in the earth’s blanket and that we should save the penguins and polar bears!’
Engineering in Pre-School
Joint sessions of structured play have started with the nursery and P1/2 – these will continue on a weekly basis from now until the end of the session. Maggie Harrison and Alison Logan are working together to plan how to incorporate the development of engineering thinking into these, although with new giant wooden blocks and the KNEX purchased the children are building some amazing structures.
Maureen MacDonald and Maggie Harrison have had meetings with Headteachers from the other primary schools in Islay and Jura to see how they can be involved in our Rolls-Royce project next term. Following the school being awarded a Digital Schools Award, the first school in Argyll & Bute to do so, Jo Clark was also interviewed with regards to a national website wanting to develop engineering skills across schools in the UK for the 2018 Year of Engineering.